If you have coronary artery disease, eating healthfully is as much about what you include in your diet as what you cut out.
If you’ve had an angioplasty or coronary stent procedure, or are preparing for one, the best way to use food to improve the health of your arteries and heart –and almost every other organ and function – is to eat whole foods. In other words, don’t buy foods that contain ingredients; buy foods that are ingredients.
Instead of processed and packaged goods, buy vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, lean meat, water, tea, and maybe a little dark chocolate and red wine.
Eating healthfully is as much about what you include in your diet as what you cut out. Here, you’ll find items to replace the trans fats and processed sugars in the snack foods that may populate your grocery cart.
Choose these heart-friendly foods to promote your cardiovascular health:
Green vegetables such as spinach, arugula, collard greens broccoli and mustard greens have a protective effect on the heart.1 These vegetables also improve the health of the endothelium, the inner surface of arteries.2 In patients with stable coronary artery disease, endothelial dysfunction is a major risk factor for heart attacks and other serious heart problems.3
Research suggests that eating nuts reduces the risk of coronary artery disease. Walnuts in particular offer a wealth of nutritional benefits for arterial health. Walnuts contain antioxidants and fatty acids that contribute to lower cholesterol levels and improved endothelial health.4
The omega-3 fatty acids in fish seem to reduce the narrowing of arteries in people living with coronary artery disease.5 The fish richest in omega-3s are salmon, mackerel, anchovies, sardines and herring. Regularly eating fish, including tuna and dark fish, slowed the progression of coronary artery disease in one study of postmenopausal women.6
Studies indicate that polyphenols, a type of antioxidant found in cocoa, may improve the health of arteries.7 Two of the richest sources of polyphenols are unsweetened cocoa powder and dark chocolate (best eaten in moderation – no more than an ounce a day of 85 percent dark chocolate).8
Download our helpful guide9-22 and take it with you next time you stock your shopping cart.